In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

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Video Store Reminiscing

big-fish-4Years ago, I had a video store.  One April, the film Big Fish was released.  I was super lucky to have several talented people working with me.  One in fact, was and still is, an amazing artist.  She offered her skills and painted window sized art for many of our promotions.  This was the first window she painted and she did it on reverse!  From that painting on she chose to paint on the outside taking the risk that hoodlums might destroy her work.  They usually didnt! 

Right inside of our front door at the store we had a showcase that we changed out with different themes.  For Big Fish we filled the showcase with dafodils to mimick the dafodil field scene.  When we took the display down my daughter and I took the flowers to the cemetery by our house and placed them on all of the super old graves.








hellboy-3Another fun film she painted for was Hellboy.  Amazing detail, that you cannot even appreciate with that glare and reflection!  Once again, we scoured the city for action figures for our showcase.  We usually had a contest that folks could enter to win whatever we had in the showcase.  Big hit for kids and adults as well.









van-hel-1Enter Van Helsing.  Huge hit.  Something about vampire movies that drive people to rent in droves.  I found an awesome Van Helsing castle.  We put it together and once again, rocked out our showcase.  The person that won this about passed out they were so excited.










lotr-paint-3lotr-paint-2Welcome Lord of the Rings.  Thank you, Peter Jackson.  This film had an amazing run for us, and in turn, we had an amazing contest.  Once again we filled the showcase with a ton of action figures and had a drawing.  Check out that tree that Stacy drew on the glass below!  Awesome!  We also left Gollum on our front door for a very, very long time.  People loved him!


We ordered and sold, so many cardboard stand up figures, it was unbelieveable!  My daughter was in love with Legolas.  After convincing her that Legolas was really Orlando Bloom, she’s now in love with him!  We even took a cardboard stand up to the photo place at the Mall and had her picture taken with Legolas.  My mom picked that dress up in a thrift store in Wales.  How perfect is that?














shark-tale-2We also had a good time with Shark Tale.  We loaded the showcase with stuffed animals from the film and we did the same with Finding Nemo.

We had a good 12 year run with this video store.  We were pretty much forced to close in September of 2005.  There are days I miss the business and of course all of the people who helped make those 12 years possible.  I was blessed with a wonderful group of employees!

But today, I am thankful that my days are filled with less film, in more ways than one.

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Own It

Recently a good yogini friend of mine,  sent me a link to an article about the possible ownership of yoga.  India has set up a huge team of people to identify and register all yoga asanas to stop folks from stealing their traditional knowledge.  Whoa.  So far they’ve traced around 130 patents on postures, yoga tools or trademarks linked to the U.S.

Does this mean no more Jivamukti yoga?  No more  Jade Harmony Mats, no more Lululemon, Prana or Shiva Shakti yogawear?

I have apparently been mislead.  Though yoga may’ve been born in India, does that mean that they own it?  I have been under the impression that yoga does not belong to anyone.  I see perhaps they are upset that some people here in the U.S. are making scads of cash from sharing yoga.  Just for the record most of us yoga teachers aren’t doing this for big bucks.  In fact, if this were the only income I had I would not be able to make it.  Period.  And I teach quite a bit!

Apparently this move is meant to possibly put a halt on those that are perhaps franchising or patenting a particular style of yoga as their own.   Though Bikram is the only one with a franchise that I’m aware of, these yoga styles, Pure Yoga, Purna Yoga, Para Yoga seem to just have a copyright on their business name.  But does that mean they have a patent on their style as well? 

How will this effect AshtangaSadhana Yoga Chi, Anusura, Dharma Mittra and Rodney Yee?  What about Lilias and Judith, Ana and Shiva?

What about the Yoga Slackersyoga-signage-1ygoa-signage-21?





 I guess what I’m really wondering is what could happen to yoga, in general here in the U.S.? 

What could this mean for me, as a yoga instructor?

What could this mean for other local teachers here in Missouri and elsewhere?

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Turbo Tax Rocks

Taxes.  Yuck.  For 12 years of my life I owned a business that had 6 or more employees which meant I had all that extra paperwork.  When I purchased the business it came with an accountant.  It’s a good thing because I would not have wanted to file all that stuff on a regular basis.  After the business went away we could do our taxes easily.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve acquired a retail sales tax number for the yoga boutique, I have cash flow from teaching yoga, some 1099’s and one or two W-2’s.   I also have expenses that go with this little business in the way of continuing education, clothing and things I’ve purchased to resell.

So last year I ran to H & R Block.  Mistake number one. 

I walked in without an appointment with a huge stack of crap to get our taxes done.  I had cash figures I’d taken for services.  I had two W-2’s.  I had three 1099’s.  My husband had one W-2.  I had my retail stuff as well as the regular personal stuff.  It took her 2 1/2 hours.  I never once asked her how much this was going to cost.   That was mistake number two.  I was used to paying around $200 for all the stuff my old accountant had done for me and believe me, it was a ton more than what I’d just presented to H & R.  I left with our stuff and ran over to my husband to have him sign it.  I returned to retrieve the rest of our info and pay the bill.  This is where mistake number three comes in.  The bill was $397.  Three hundred and ninety-seven dollars!  I whipped out a credit card to pay the damage and left in tears. 

If my husband would’ve been there he would’ve refused to pay.  He would’ve gathered that stuff and left.  Was it my fault for not asking how much this was going to cost?  Was it her fault for not letting me know along the way?  After all, she’d just provided me with a service and I felt obligated to seal the deal.  It turns out H & R Block will charge you for every little tiny form they file.  They charge like $25 for each W-2 or 1099.  The bill was up to over $100 before we ever got started.  Would have been nice for her to let me know that ahead of time.  Perhaps she was unaware?  Riiiight?!

This year I checked out Turbo Tax online.  How hard could it be?  Not hard at all that’s all I’ve got to say!  I started our taxes Friday around noon.  I worked on them for a couple of hours.  Mainly, organizing my own stuff so I could enter figures.  I started back up around 8:30 that same evening and finished at midnight on the dot!  I filed my own Schedule C, I entered all my 1099’s and W-2’s.  I entered ALL of my own business expenses and claimed our kids.  After I did the Federal, I filed the State.  It pulled all the info over, so I had to click like three times and I was done!  After you finish, the software checks for any errors.  I had careless errors for instance; the address on a W-2 was on the wrong line.  It’s neat that it catches this stuff and lets you know about it.  I printed out our return.  It looks exactly like what I received last year, only with greater satisfaction as I did this on my own!  The return was approved by early the next morning.  I had to upgrade to the small business version so it did cost a little more.  The total cost for filing with this online software?  $109.90. 

If you’re in need, try Turbo Tax.  It rocks!

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My Lucky Day

*Thanksgiving was wonderful.  We brined a huge turkey and chowed.  Frank’s sister brought Quinoa stuffing and man was it fantastic!  I love quinoa.

*My brother also made it in.  He flew stand by on United and arrived at 5:45 just in time for the “second” dinner!  As a heads up, if you fly as a guest of United, you have to wear slacks, nice shoes and a collared shirt.  He lives in Boulder and I hadn’t seen him for almost three years!!

*My sister and her husband stayed in Florida.  Her husband builds pools and water features which means he works with a ton of illegals.  Unemloyment is 8% in Florida now and probably like 12% if you count the ones you can’t really count.  They invited two guys from Guatemala and one Mexican to join them for dinner.

*Us chicks walked over to Phelps Grove Park and did a couple of treks around the track after the big meal.  Then we came back and had pie.  It’s all good.

*The guys went to the Mall and checked out the Segway.  I would’ve loved to have seen my 83 year old father-in-law on that thing!

*My parents are camping at Taneycomo.  They seem to be adjusting to retirement very well.  This is the first time they’ve traveled and not had to worry about a “business.” 

*In the video business, you are open every single day of the year, 12 hours a day, so that also presents a problem on holidays.  Some years, we had Christmas at midnight the day of.  When you hired people, they said they could always work on the holidays, but when the time came.  Guess what?  It was usually us and a few others behind the counter!

*I’m passing on the camping since I really DO NOT want to shop today.  My husband, had to be at work at 5:00 a.m.  At 7:00 a.m. he said traffic was gridlocked from the Mall to Target.  I’ll be going to the Gratitude Yoga Class at 10:00 a.m. instead.

*I hit the Mall on Wednesday to return an item I purchased on Evening of Giving.  The Lucky brand stuff was marked down 40%.  Oh…my…..God.  The sales clerk must’ve heard me gasp.  She said she couldn’t believe it either as they never have sales, only clearance.  No kidding.  Whoa.  I returned my top that didn’t fit quite right.  They gave me a gift card (since I wrote a check) for my purchase (we don’t use credit cards unless we travel) and I put it towards the Japanese People top I’d been eyeing!  I paid $27.88 after my exchange, the top was originally priced at $58.  My Lucky day!!

*My parents brought us some great furniture.  My sister, who used to make scads of cash, has had approximately 10 couches in 15 years.  I scored one of her great sofas she got at Burdine’s, a leather ottoman/coffee table, and an end table, plus a barrel chair from the house that I grew up in. 

*Anyone interested in a big sectional, with two recliners and a sofa bed?  It’s blue, it’s comfy.  It was here when I moved in and I am unable to rearrange our living room as long as we have it.  I”m looking forward to getting this out of our house to open up the HUGE picture window even more!  Look for it on Craig’s List soon!

*Speaking of scads of money, my brother used to manage a nice bike store.  This guy, a president of a “company” would fly in on a private jet and buy stuff.  Usually thousands of dollars in bike clothing and sometimes bikes.  He would hand my brother one item and that meant he wanted it in three different sizes.  

*One time, my brother asked him why he never tried anything on.  He said because his company pushed the pencil and the time that he would take was not worth it.  The pilot would then come in and pay for the stuff, with an American Express black card.  They’re made of metal and you have to spend like $250,000 a year to be considered.  What did he do with the stuff that didn’t work out?  He passed it on to his employees.  Cool.


*The family is hoping for snow this weekend.  So is my husband.  He spent all summer welding a bracket for his Lawn Boy Lawn Tractor, so he could attach a snow shoveling bucket.  He was pushing leaves around the yard with it the other day.  I did not know this, but a Lawn Boy Tractor, is NOT a Lawn Boy riding mower.  Who knew, or it was more like to me, who cares?  He’s so excited about this snow bucket.  Look for Jefferson to be clear and plowed this year, by yours truly!

*He drove to Branson three years ago and hauled home two riding mowers (the Lawn Boy was one of them) for $80.  After some minor stuff, the Lawn Boy was up and running.  The other one?  It’s stripped and combined with some other mower, so now his dad has a good one too.  Where’s the rest of it?  Don’t ask, but I want it out of here soon!

*Looking forward to hanging with my family again, when they come back in the morning!  I don’t think, I know I can’t handle Branson today!


Advice to Beginners

Years ago (I’m only 42) I wanted to be a nurse.  So, I did what people would do.  I enrolled at SMSU and started with the nursing pre-requisite classes.  This would be my first college experience and I was married, working full-time during the day, and I was 25.  I got almost half way through those classes, when I had the opportunity to own my own business.  I worked the business and went to school, actually, I worked for FREE for two years to pay off the debt.  After a short time, I discovered that by going to school and running the business I would definitely fail at both, so I had to make a decision.  I quit the school and ran with the business.  I loved the classes that I took, I especially loved the English class.  I still have the book from that very class, and in it, is the poem below.  I have it memorized.  I love it.


Begin.  Keep on beginning.  Nibble on everything.  Take a hike.  Teach yourself to whistle.  Lie.  The older you get the more they’ll want your stories.  Make them up.  Talk to stones.  Short-out electric fences.  Swim with the sea turtle into the moon.  Learn how to die.  Eat moonshine pie.  Drink wild geranium tea.  Run naked in the rain.  Everything that happens will happen and none of us will be safe from it.  Pull up anchors.  Sit close to the god of night.  Lie still in a stream and breathe the water.  Climb to the top of the highest tree until you come to the branch where the blue heron sleeps.  Eat poems for breakfast.  Wear them on your forehead.  Lick the mountain’s bare shoulder.  Measure the color of days around your mothers’s death.  Put your hands over your face and listen to what they tell you.

Author Ellen Kort

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Yoga, Business & Love



It’s been a full week of yoga business this week!   To keep people informed, I put out an e-newsletter every now and then.  Sometimes more now than then, depending on what’s happening in the welllness aspect of our city.  There is so much more yoga in our town (as there is everywhere now) than there used to be, that I decided to promote all the studios, not just the ones that I teach at.  After all, we are all trying to achieve the same thing!  It’s been a great tool in bringing the yoga community together in our town.  I’ve met new people and actually gained some extra yoga gigs since I include everyone in my promotions in an unbiased way.  I like to teach a couple of special workshops a year, so I’m preparing for a psoas yoga workshop.  I’ve been bringing some of the info into the classroom on and off, it’s my way of preparing for something bigger.  I almost always try to teach with a theme of something or other.  It might be one particular muscle group, a focus on a body or mind blockage, etc.  I am also bringing one of my favorite teachers to town again this Fall.  I used to have to travel to St. Louis to enjoy his workshops.  He came to us last year and will do so again this year!  How exciting that was, to see these people, come out of the woodwork for a weekend of yoga and meditation!  I never intended to share my love of yoga, I just loved going to class and practicing on my own.  Somehow, I ended up in the front of the room and it now, feels very natural.  It takes a lot of work to keep the vibe alive.  A couple of years ago, I redesigned our studio web site.  I knew nothing about making web sites, but I feel it looks great!  In turn, a couple of friends asked me to make them a web site as well.  I spend a lot of time, making web site updates, writing and sending out e-newsletters and preparing to teach classes.  Lots of people are wanting to teach yoga, and I think that’s great.  At the same time, I feel they don’t know how much can be involved for how little you are compensated.  Do I have to do this web site and e-newsletter?  No, I don’t.  I do it because it keeps everyone aware, excited and hopefully wanting more.  I do it because I love yoga and if you are a yoga instructor, we are probably on the same page!